How Bout Dem Apples – Smoke Wagon Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Allspice Dram, Fresh Lemon, Homemade Apple Juice
Lollipop Frog Legs, Garlic, Parmesan
Grilled Oysters, Garlic Chili Butter
Bacon Jam, Havarti, Toasted Baguette
Turkey Grinder, Pretzel Roll, Apple Butter Mustard, Fennel Slaw, Spicy Tots, Ketchup
See the World Find an Old Fashioned Girl – Hayman’s Sloe Gin, Amaro Montenegro, Dolin Genepy des Alpes, Regan’s Bitters #6
Warm Spinach, Onions, Smoked Almond, Craisins, Cannellini Beans, Maple Sage Vin
Wild Mushroom Flatbread, Pickled Red Onion, Gruyere
Gyro Tacos, Lamb, Tzatziki, Feta, Tomato
Pork Schnitzel, Pickled Potatoes, Pumpkin Seed Oil
Rainbow Trout, Plum Tkemali, Molasses Vin
Shorts & Blazers – Gosling’s Bermuda Black Rum, Il Tramonti Amaretto, St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, Fresh Lemon, Ginger Beer
Hatch Chile Philly Flatbread, Buttermilk Fried Onions, Cheddar, Steak
Funeral Potatoes, Corn Flakes, Tenaya Creek 702 Pale Ale Beer Cheese
Chicken Riggies, Gin Tomato Cream, Thyme Crumb
Chicken Thighs, Broccolini, Rice Crisps, General Tso’s Glaze
Butter Burger, Boursin, Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, Bacon Jam, Spicy Tots, Ketchup
Baxter Bark Twice – Bank Note Blended Scotch Whiskey, Montenegro Select, Averna Amaro, Fresh Lemon
Beeramisu, Crafthaus Belgard Coffee Stout, Cinnamon, Poached Cranberries, Pumpkin Cream
Bourbon Fudge Brownie, Brown Butter Bacon Ice Cream
As with every new season for the past five years, Autumn 2019 delivers a multitude of new ideas from the crew at Carson Kitchen, planned openings of locations in Salt Lake City and Atlanta soon bringing the Restaurant that launched Las Vegas’ off-Strip revolution to new people in new places while Sin City continues to benefit from Kerry Simon and Cory Harwell’s willingness to take a chance on downtown.
Nothing less than iconic at 124 South 6th Street, Suite 100 of the John E. Carson Building continuously busy both day and night, it was shortly after doors opened at 11:30am that four guests found themselves seated at room’s center, a young woman named Angel pouring Beverages while tunes from The Strokes and Modest Mouse played overhead at low-volume.
Never content to rest on past success, even after unadulterated praise for a recent “greatest hits” menu that returned several favorites to the spotlight during Las Vegas’ scorching summer, it is from a team of talented women and men currently led by Chef Scott Simon that new ideas take shape, General Manager Matthew Harwell predictably overseeing service and a Cocktail program that has recently given longtime staff an unprecedented degree of creative control.
Only quiet for the first fifteen minutes of this Saturday, every seat except for those at the bar accounted for by 12:30, it was with a focus on new plates that lunch took place across five courses, the first starring frenched-Frog Legs that eat like Garlic Parmesan Wings and spicy grilled Oysters, plus stacked Turkey Breast on a Pretzel Roll that makes a delicious seasonal pairing to the Cider-like sipper titled “How Bout Dem Apples” from bartender Felicia Taylor.
Always attentive to guest feedback, even from the mouths of a constant complainers, it was in transition to the second course that diners were served Bacon Jam 2.0 with Havarti in place of Brie, its mixability improved and each bite a bit smoother, while Chelsea Barto’s “See the World Find an Old Fashioned Girl” took an herbaceous route leading guests from Spinach Salad through Gyro Tacos and Harwell’s ever-present Vegetarian Flatbread that this time features Mushrooms, Gruyere Cheese and Pickled Onions.
Continuing with two new Entrees, each Eastern European in influence and $20 or less, it is safe to say that 90% of the Schnitzel tasted in Germany fell short of Carson Kitchen’s crispy version served with pickled Potatoes, while sour Plum Sauce worked wonders for skin-on Trout gently sweetened by Molasses.
Suggested a Dark and Stormy-inspired beverage from Geronimo Robles next, its viscosity and sweetness standing up well to three of the menu’s spicier selections, those assuming “Hatch Chile Philly Flatbread” too hot will be pleasantly surprised that sweating and smoking the Peppers yields balance, while Chicken “Riggies” dressed in Gin Sauce, instead of Vodka, brings the fire.
Turning hearty for three more, soft Spuds in Beer Cheese precisely what a Midwesterner might expect at a wake, fans of American-style Chinese Food will find plenty to love about Carson’s current Chicken Thighs while Cory’s “Butter Burger” is as texturally pleasing as ever, and even better with the “menu hack” addition of Bacon Jam.
Skipping Coffee in favor of “Baxter Bark Twice,” a backbone of Scotch subdued by Amaro and Citrus, it is thanks to notes of Anise and Sage that this drink pairs well to both Carson Kitchen’s thick Chocolate Brownie and an intensely seasonal sweet called Beeramisu made with local Stout, Pumpkin Cream and boozy Cranberries.
FIVE STARS: Fresh off a greatest hits menu attesting to quality and innovation since opening, Carson Kitchen’s Autumn 2019 menu sees the Restaurant more seasonal than ever with bold flavors that are hearty but not heavy and new Cocktails that are herbaceous yet Spirit focused.
RECOMMENDED: How Bout Dem Apples, See the World Find an Old Fashioned Girl, Lollipop Frog Legs, Bacon Jam, Warm Spinach, Pork Schnitzel, Hatch Chile Philly Flatbread, Funeral Potatoes, Butter Burger, Chicken Thighs, Beeramisu, Bourbon Fudge Brownie.
TIP: Yes, the Butter Burger has cold Cheese on it. It is not Brie and never has been. If guests want the Cheese melted, they only need to ask. But they’d be better off asking to add Bacon Jam, which now also doesn’t include Brie.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.